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Comments about the soundtrack for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (James Horner)
The best of Trek.

GinoC
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The best of Trek.   Thursday, July 10, 2003 (2:38 p.m.) 

I have never understood why Horner's Trek III score is so under-appreciated by Star Trek music fans. In my mind, it's a much smoother and richer score than Wrath of Khan and it certainly isn't as pompous as Goldsmith's TMP music. (Yes, Goldsmith's music is a great score, but a little too aware of it's grandeur). While ST III doesn't break ground with battle music, and yes, the Klingon theme is a Khan rehash, the Prologue, the Spacedock theme, the Stealing the Enterprise cue, the Katra Ritual and most noteworhty, the End Credits-- with it's perfectly orchestrated update of Alexander Courage's original TV theme-- make the score to Star Trek III the most majestic and most 'Star Trek-y'of the entire Trek film music canon.

What I liked when I saw the film in '84 as well as now, seven films later, is the way Horner effortlessly infused his music with Courage's fanfare and TV theme to make a perfect synthesis of old and new. While Horner's Wrath of Khan music used the fanfare sparingly to good effect, it was almost a self conscious effort. In Star Trek III, Horner seemed to have the confidence to let loose with Courage's music when necessary, at the most critical points when its usage drew on the emotions of the shows then eighteen year history.

Furthermore I think film music fans are judging the music based on an poorly produced album. Indeed, that 'Group 87' pop tune is awful. The sound quality is questionable, and the album like many other Trek albulms is woefully short. There are so many fine cues in the film that didn't make the album.(my favorite being the destruction of the Genesis planet and that excellent moment when Kirk arrives on the bridge of the Bird of Prey, pointing his phaser at Maltz.) I'd love for someone to produce a complete soundtrack album. For now, however, I firmly believe more fans of the series and its music need to give the third film a good listen.

Admittedly, if one is watching Star Trek III, it becomes apparent that the film really doesn't stand the test of time. In '84, it was the best paced and most at ease with itself of the three Star Trek films. The characters were interacting with each other as they did on the show. So fans like myself were eager to overlook it's complete lack of science and anything goes plot. However, I contend that even if the film itself isn't the best of the series, the music James Horner wrote for it is.

Warp speed ahead!

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